Gallatin Valley Pediatric Dentistry

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child and parent brushing teeth


Up to a certain age, children need help brushing their teeth. Teaching your child proper brushing technique is very important for establishing good oral hygiene habits in them from a young age. Read on to learn more about why you need to help your child brush their teeth and at what age you can stop.

Why Should I Help My Child Brush Their Teeth?

Adults and children are both at risk of developing cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. In fact, tooth decay is the most common chronic condition in young children, with more than 40 percent of kids between the ages of two and eleven experiencing at least one cavity. Tooth decay can be prevented by following a good oral hygiene routine, but young children may not have the hand-eye coordination to thoroughly brush all surfaces of their teeth. Helping your child brush their teeth will ensure that they do a thorough job, which can prevent cavities and other dental health problems from occurring.

Another reason you should help your child brush their teeth is to monitor how much toothpaste they use. Since young children’s teeth are not fully developed, they are at risk for a condition called dental fluorosis, which occurs when children swallow toothpaste that contains fluoride. Dental fluorosis causes discoloration, striping, and texture changes on the surface of the teeth.

When Can My Child Brush On Their Own?

The age a child is ready to brush their teeth without parental aid depends on the development and maturity of the individual child. Most children are able to brush on their own by the time they are eight, while others might need help for a bit longer. Even if your child insists on brushing without your help, you should still supervise them until they are about ten years old, just to make sure they are brushing completely and for enough time.

How Long Should My Child Brush For?

For both adults and children, the ADA recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. Brushing for a shorter period may not be sufficient to clean the teeth completely and remove plaque, whereas brushing for longer than two minutes is unnecessary, and could even damage teeth. To learn more about helping your child develop good oral health habits, call our office today.